When a person makes a will, while they are living only they can give a copy of the will to another party, such as a family member.
When a person dies and a will exists, the Executor of a will has no legal duty to send a copy of the will to the beneficiaries of an estate – although once probate is granted, a will becomes a matter of public record and is published.
There are several reasons why it may be necessary to obtain a copy of a will – including to find out who the beneficiaries are, or to contest a will.
There may be fears that the new will was made as a result of coercion – or is even fraudulent, for example.
Other reasons for obtaining a copy of the will might be as a result of inheritance tax and where tax relief is being claimed – or simply to find out how much money a relative left.
When probate is needed, beneficiaries will be sent a copy of the will with a copy of the Grant of Probate issued by the Probate Registry – including the name of those who applied for probate i.e. the Executors or personal representative of the estate.
If an Executor has refused to issue a copy of the will and beneficiaries fear the Executor/s are not acting properly in administering the will – or beneficiaries wish to contest a new will – it is advisable to seek expert legal advice from Duncan Lewis Probate solicitors as soon as possible.
Once a will has been published, it is possible to apply to the local Probate Registry via an application form to obtain a copy of the will.
However, if there is a valid reason for obtaining a copy of the will before probate and the Executor will not release this, seeking legal advice on your position is essential.
Duncan Lewis has offices nationwide – and our Probate solicitors offer competitively-priced fixed fees for probate matters, with hourly rates for contentious probate cases.
For expert legal advice on wills and probate and obtaining a copy of a will, call Duncan Lewis Wills and Probate solicitors in confidence on 0333 772 0409.